We write to you as an alliance of civil society organizations in 43 countries across Africa that represents a diverse group of people and shares a common concern on our continent about the growing catastrophe that is climate change.
Climate change is upon us in Africa. Our rivers are drying. Our crops failing, diseases increasing, people going hungry, and thirsty. An unrelenting sun scorches our land while other areas are ravaged by storms and disease. Scientists now say the world could warm by 6°C – and by more in Africa. This threatens nothing less than the collapse of our continent.
Today Africa grapples with a challenge that is not of our making; effects we had little role in causing. We find no alternative but to look to those nations that contributed most to causing climate change, and to call on them to lead through their example.
We call on Denmark, as the Presidency of the Conference of Parties, to fulfill its duty to all Parties to ensure a fair and balanced process and an outcome that respects the distinct mandates to implement the Kyoto Protocol and the Climate Convention. These outcomes must ensure that Africa is kept safe from the rising impacts of climate change. Yet we find it failing in this duty. Along with other leaders of developed nations you have proposed:
That global average temperatures be limited to “below 2°C”, yet this threatens catastrophic harm to Africa (which could warm by around 1.5 times this global average); That global emissions be limited to 50% of 1990 levels by 2050, yet this risks a 50% of exceeding 2°C; and there by making the costs to Africa significantly worse.
That Annex I countries cut their emissions by 80% by 2050, which would rob Africa of its fair share of atmospheric space and limit our prospects of development while we grapple with a more hostile climate and the twin challenge of tackling poverty.
Of greatest single concern is that it seems the European Union and other developed countries within the Umbrella Group seeks to continue its domestic pollution well into the future by “offsetting” its emissions to Africa and other developing countries, further transferring the burden of curbing climate change to those countries that had little role in causing it.
Also of concern is the seeming willingness of these developed countries to end rather than implement their legally binding obligations under the Kyoto Protocol; it is undermining the single international agreement that establishes binding international targets for developed countries.
These positions are as unjust as they are unsustainable mindful of the historical responsibility of developed country parties who have to take the lead in ensuring a stabilization of atmospheric concentrations while not undermining the right to development of developing countries.
We therefore call on you to ensure that the European Union and other developed country parties commit to adequately reduce their mid-term emissions under a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol as well to provide additional and predictable financial and technological support for clean development and adaptation in developing countries. Our detailed demands are set out in the attached African Climate Justice Manifesto.
As we near Copenhagen, the eyes of the world are upon Denmark. We call on you to ensure that Denmark and its partners in the industrialized world address their historical responsibilities and debts, and ensure that Africans and all people can look forward to a bright future.
Coordinator – Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance